One side effect of Gophers coach Jerry Kill's retirement Wednesday is it automatically terminated the contracts of the remaining nine top assistant coaches, under the language of those deals.
Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys and offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover were under contract through June 30, 2017. And the other seven assistants had deals through June 30, 2016. Interim athletic director Beth Goetz offered those nine coaches new contracts this week that would pay them through Jan. 31, 2016, with the potential to be extended. Those deals are being finalized, sources said.
Claeys has been promoted to interim head coach and is expected to get a raise from his $616,000 salary. Limegrover is making $566,000, and the other seven assistants are making between $208,000 and $269,000.
The Jan. 31 termination date would prevent the university from having to pay two coaching staffs in the event it decides to hire someone other than Claeys.
National signing day is Feb. 3, so there will be that lingering uncertainty for recruiting until the university picks a permanent replacement for Kill.
On Wednesday, Claeys made it clear he wants the job, and he added to those comments Thursday during an appearance on KFAN (100.3-FM).
"It's not about me and the staff deserving anything," Claeys said. "I think from where this program is at now, from when we got here, I think we've earned that opportunity to do that. Especially since Coach [Kill] has missed football games before, and we've had to work without him, and we've been successful.
"At the same time, it's like everywhere I've been, I don't want to be the head coach at the University of Minnesota if I'm not wanted and the staff isn't wanted.
"President [Eric] Kaler, it's not easy, I know. Beth being an interim AD — but as long as they decide they would want me to be the head coach, I truly want to be the head coach. And I know we'll keep on the same path of getting better and competing for Big Ten championships."
Claeys promoted Jay Nunez from his special teams quality control job to special teams coach. With Claeys moving from the press box coaching booth to the sideline, Nunez will take his seat in the booth.
Claeys also promoted Keith Jordan from an operations assistant position into Nunez's former role with special teams quality control.
Defensive backs coach Jay Sawvel coaches special teams as well. And Claeys told KFAN that Sawvel will help with the defensive calls Saturday against Michigan.
Closing the restaurant
Claeys dropped one other bit of news on KFAN, saying he recently closed down Coach's Grill & Pub, the restaurant he owned in his hometown of Clay Center, Kan.
"My folks are getting ready to retire, and being back in the hometown, they worried about that dang restaurant all the time, even though they weren't running it," Claeys said.
"It was during the [bye] week, I said, 'Mom, that's an easy deal. You guys deserve to enjoy your retirement. We'll close her down on Saturday.' My sister ran [the restaurant], and obviously I'm not going to kick her out on the street and let her go. I'll take care of them."
In Thursday's injury report, the Gophers listed receivers Isaiah Gentry and Jeff Jones and center Brian Bobek as out, with tight end Duke Anyanwu probable and defensive tackle Scott Ekpe questionable. On their depth chart, the Gophers listed Jonathan Celestin as their starting middle linebacker, with Cody Poock as a backup outside linebacker, behind Jack Lynn.